Coughlan update 2
Suspended McLaren chief engineer Mike Coughlan and his wife, Trudy, agreed today in court in Britain to give sworn statements completely disclosing their participation in the scheme which resulted in stolen Ferrari documents being found in a search of their British residence. Part of the agreement in the lawsuit by Ferrari against Coughlan allows Ferrari to petition the British High Court in which the case is being heard to make the statement available to Italian prosecutors pursuing charges against Nigel Stepney, Ferrari’s former chief of development.
The statements are to be given under oath, which means that Mr. and Mrs. Coughlan could be prosecuted for perjury should any of the statements prove untrue.
The agreement also requires Coughlan to explain any role in the matter of Jonathan Neale, the managing director of McLaren Racing. Ferrari has indicated that it wants to inspect the computer used by Coughlan. However, it appears that computer actually belongs to McLaren and is in its position. As McLaren is not part of the lawsuit, it cannot be forced to produce the computer.
Ferrari has also disputed McLaren’s claim that the documents involved were received by Coughlan this past April. Ferrari says that some of the material recovered from Coughlan was generated after that date.
It is unclear what affect, if any, this agreement has on any potential lawsuit for recovery of damages against Coughlin, but it appears likely that Coughlan can expect some consideration from Ferrari in exchange for his disclosures. It also seems likely that Coughlan is the key, both to the manner in which the documents were stolen from Ferrari, the motive of the participants, and the identity of the participants – including, potentially, others at McLaren and Ferrari.